Reforming Outcomes A review of Offender Education in Wales - March 2019 - GOV.WALES

 
Reforming Outcomes
A review of Offender Education in Wales
Rt. Hon. David Hanson MP

March 2019

                                          1
Foreword
Prison is a severe punishment for any individual, but it also has to serve the function of rehabilitation.
Education and employment is key to helping turn round lives. The Welsh Government have had
responsibility for education and employment in prisons since 2009. Now is the time, almost ten years
on, to review what they’re doing, why they’re doing it and how well they’re achieving the objective of
making lives better.
I was pleased to be asked to undertake this review by the former Minister for Welsh Language and
Lifelong Learning, Baroness Eluned Morgan AM, quite simply to see if improvements can be made
to better coordinate how the Welsh Government uses its power and to support those in the voluntary
sector and in HM Prison and Probation Service undertake their roles in a more effective manner.
This matters. It’s not just the cost of initial offending that has impacts on all areas in Wales. It’s the
cost of reoffending by those who the system has failed. We need to ensure that whilst in the
responsibility of HM Prison and Probation Service and Welsh Government, those who have offended
have every support to turn their lives around.
This means not just help with basic levels of literacy and numeracy and assessment of skills
shortages, which is done well by the system, it also means looking at how we best equip people
leaving prison with skills and educational attainment to assist them in getting employment, which is
the key to turning lives around.
The Welsh Government has wider responsibilities for health, housing, drug rehabilitation and
mental health. These issues are not dealt with in detail within this report, but are areas that the
Welsh Government could look at better integrating in the future.
The report is simply looking at the overarching objectives that could and should be set by
Welsh Government to make a difference.
I hope that this is a useful contribution, which will lead to action in the next eighteen months to better
integrate the efforts of HM Prison and Probation Service and Welsh Government to reduce crime and
turn lives around.

Rt. Hon. David Hanson MP

2
1. Introduction                                                             4

2. Methodology                                                              8

3. Accountability Structures                                                9

4. Inclusivity with Stakeholders                                           12

5. S
    ocial Clauses:
   The Welsh Government’s Employment Power                                 16

6. Through the Gate Services                                               20

7. Female Offender Education                                               24

8. Digital Infrastructure                                                  27

9. Conclusion                                                              28

Annexes
A. All recommendations                                                     29
B. Terms of Reference                                                      31

Mae’r ddogfen yma hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg.
This document is also available in Welsh.
       © Crown copyright 2019   WG36298   Digital ISBN 978-1-78964-843-0        3
1. Introduction
    In August 2018 I was asked by the former Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning
    to undertake a review into prison education in Wales. The terms of reference for my review are
    contained in Annex B. I was specifically asked not to look at the issue of further devolution in
    the context of this review given that this is already being examined by the wider Thomas Review,
    commissioned by the First Minister.
    The recommendations contained within this report are predominantly directed at the
    Welsh Government and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPSS), but other
    public-sector bodies and privately-run prisons can take note of these recommendations to improve
    education within our prisons.
    It is important to detail how we reached the current situation before setting out my findings.

    Devolution of powers
    In 2009 the Welsh Government witnessed a transfer of further powers and functions from the UK
    Government in the arena of education in prisons. Section 47 of the Prisons Act 1952 has now
    been under the control of Welsh Ministers for nearly ten years. This built upon the already devolved
    powers of education contained within section 10 of the Education Act 1996, which was transferred
    to the National Assembly for Wales in 1999 SI 1999/672 and is now exercised by Welsh Minsters
    by virtue of GOWA 2006.
    UK Government Ministers for the former Department for Education and Skills received a formal
    request for a devolution of these powers in June 2007. Before devolution, responsibility for
    education in Welsh prisons rested with the former Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills
    and the Department for Children, Schools and Families, working closely with the Ministry of Justice.
    Delivery of learning in Welsh prisons was arranged by the then National Offender Management
    Service (NOMS), acting on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.
    Before devolution, the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills funded NOMS Cymru
    for the delivery of prison education and associated aspects. Before the full transfer of powers,
    the Welsh Assembly Government worked on a Memorandum of Understanding with NOMS Cymru
    between 2008 and 2009. This was to allow for a smooth transition towards the Welsh Government
    taking responsibility for section 47 of the Prisons Act 1952 on 1 April 2009.
    Following the transfer of functions under section 47 of the Prisons Act 1952, Welsh Ministers are
    now responsible for making rules in relation to the provision of education and training, and library
    services to be made available for offenders in prison, remand centres, young offender institutions
    and secure training centres in Wales.
    It was stated in the UK Government’s explanatory memorandum on the transfer of powers that the
    Welsh Assembly Government would also work with NOMS Cymru, who are responsible for the
    commissioning and provision of educational services in prisons within Wales, to ensure that there
    is a consistent approach to delivering education and training across all prisons in Wales1…
    The explanatory memorandum noted that there was an agreed transfer of resources to the then
    Welsh Assembly Government from the former Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills of
    £2,656,000 for 2009-10 and £2,733,000 for 2010-11. It was agreed between all parties involved
    that the Welsh Government would work with NOMS Cymru – as it was then – to calculate funding
    needed if the prison estate would expand or change within Wales. They would produce a business
    case to HM Treasury for funding for prison expansion to be included in supplementary budgets.

    1
        Explanatory Memorandum to the Welsh Ministers (Transfer of Functions) Order 2009, 2009 No. 703, p.3

4
It was agreed that a set of principles would be put in place regarding the newly devolved
powers. The explanatory memorandum noted six points which would be achieved through
the devolution of these powers.
• take a strategic planning and management role, linked to its wider skills and social justice
  agenda, providing consistent level of service across the prison estate in Wales
• integrate prison education in Wales within mainstream education and training, helping to provide
  co-ordinated learning for offenders before, during and after their sentences. This will involve
  co-ordination of the education and training provided in prisons and by the probation service
  and participation in Children and Young People’s Partnerships in relation to young offenders
• develop local solutions for the training and education needs of prisoners by utilising a diverse
  range of local providers
• ensure that learning provision within prisons is more responsive to labour market opportunities
  in Wales, thereby increasing the employment rate of ex-offenders (which is an important factor
  in reducing reoffending)
• use the opportunity to innovate and trial new approaches, for example in linking to Careers Wales
  services or new approaches to information systems, and
• develop its Welsh-specific policy for prisoner education in Wales, potentially including personal
  support for offenders aged 25 and younger to support their transition from custody to community2.

The memorandum concluded that the monitoring or review of these functions, once transferred,
would be a matter for the Welsh Government and/or the National Assembly for Wales.
The Welsh Government’s current budget for prison education is £3,328,000.00 for the south Wales
prisons and £3,588,750.00 for HMP Berwyn which opened in February 2017.

Review of the prison estate
The prison estate in Wales is comprised of six prisons: Berwyn, Cardiff, Swansea, Parc,
Prescoed and Usk. Cardiff, Swansea, Usk, Prescoed and Berwyn are public sector prisons
and HMP Parc is operated by G4S under contract to HMPPS Wales. These are male only prisons
and there is a Young Offender Institution (YOI) at HMP Parc.
The newest prison is HMP Berwyn. Permission was granted for this new prison to be built in
Wrexham in 2014 and was officially opened on 27 February 2017. Berwyn holds 2,106 category C
men. It is split between three houses: Alwen, Bala and Ceiriog. Ceiriog will act as a short term and
remand house, serving two Crown Courts and three Magistrates Courts in North Wales. Each house
is divided into eight communities that can accommodate 88 men. Ogwen is a Care and Support
Unit (CaSU), and accommodates up to 21 men.
The accommodation is a mixture of single and double occupancy with all rooms having integral
sanitation including a shower cubicle. Rooms are also equipped with PIN phone and UniLink laptop
for each occupant, allowing offenders to submit applications, order canteen, book visits to name
but a few.
HMP Cardiff is a Category B Local/Training Prison holding male adult prisoners who come from
the surrounding court catchment area who are on remand and serving sentences of 18 months
and under with the majority spending less than 3 months there. It has an occupational capacity
of 820 and its regime includes full time education, employment in the prison workshops and
training courses.
One of the oldest prisons in Wales is HMP Swansea. Completed in 1861 it has had many
2
    Explanatory Memorandum to the Welsh Ministers (Transfer of Functions) Order 2009, 2009 No. 703, p. 4

                                                                                                           5
incarnations. Today, it is a local and resettlement Prison, holding remand and short sentence
    Category B male prisoners and young adults and has an operational capacity of 500.
    HMP Prescoed has operated since 1993 as an open resettlement establishment for adult male
    Category D prisoners. It is comprised of 11 purpose-built, detached accommodation blocks
    housing approximately 20 offenders in each and gives this prison an operational capacity of 230.
    HMP Usk is a prison which holds Category C sex offenders and Vulnerable Prisoners. It is split into
    three wings in two storey blocks. It has an occupational capacity of 273 and the accommodation is
    mainly double cells, all with simple integral sanitation.
    Finally, in Bridgend is HMP and YOI Parc which is a Category C training prison. It has a capacity of
    approximately 1,719 male adults (convicted only), young adults (convicted only) and young people
    (convicted and remand). All cells are equipped with in-cell sanitation, in-cell electrics and in-cell TV
    for Standard and Enhanced regime. All wings are equipped with PIN telephones, and recreational
    facilities. Each wing is broken down into various blocks that provide a varied level of provisions and
    specialisations.
    Women from Wales who are sentenced to custody are held in women’s prisons in England,
    mainly HMP Styal and HMP Eastwood Park.

    Performance Data
    In the annual MoU, the Welsh Government sets a number of performance indicators relating to
    the delivery of education in the public sector prisons in south Wales (Cardiff, Swansea, Usk and
    Prescoed). For the financial year April 2017 to March 2018, the following were achieved:
    • Minimum Starts: Public prisons will achieve a minimum of 8840 Starts per annum:
      Total starts achieved: 9361 = 106% of target
    • Retention rate: 80% of learners who start a course (minus agreed leavers) complete the course
      Total completion achieved: 7633 = 87% of target
    • Attainment rate: 80% of learners who complete a course achieve an accredited qualification
      Total attainment achieved: 6883 = 90% of target
    • Success rate: 70% of learners who start a course (minus agreed leavers) achieve an
      accredited qualification
      Total success achieved: 6833 = 78%

    The MoJ do not provide data relating to achievement of employment outcomes on release.
    The Welsh Government provides employability skills to ex-offenders who are under the statutory
    supervision of the probation services in Wales through their Employability Skills Programme.
    Contracted providers have a target to deliver to 200 ex-offenders per year. To date, 191 participants
    have entered the programme, 17 of which are in employment.

6
Current Welsh Government Vision
I requested the Welsh Government provide this report with their thoughts on prison education in
Wales. They stated that:
    Reoffending costs society around £15 billion per year. Across the UK there is an increasing focus
    on reducing reoffending and in Wales, both Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS)
    and Welsh Government agree that, improving an individual’s chance of finding meaningful
    employment on release plays a pivotal role in successful rehabilitation. HMPPS and the
    Welsh Government share a joint ambition to ensure that all prisoners have access to education
    and skills training that will enable them to acquire the skills and experience to gain and maintain
    sustainable employment on release.
    The Welsh Government works closely with HMPPS at both a strategic and operational level to
    continuously work on ways to improve further the quality and relevance of offender learning within
    prisons, ensuring skills training fits with the Welsh Government priorities outlined in “Taking Wales
    Forward and the Employability Plan”. Recent initiatives include developing supportive measures to
    improve links to employment opportunities and tackle barriers to work for prisoners on release.
    Together, they all also engage with a number of key stakeholders involved in the prisoner learner
    journey both during their time in prison as well as through the gate to seek ways to work more
    collaboratively together to improve outcomes for prisoners.
    More recently, Welsh Government officials have attended the newly established Justice in Wales
    Strategy Group. The group shares its chair between HMPPS and the Welsh Government and
    contains members from Welsh Government, HMPPS as well as the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).
    The remit of the group is to ensure engagement across the MoJ and Welsh Government on key
    areas of policy development and reform and to deliver the best possible outcomes across the
    justice system for Wales.

It is clear from this investigation that much good work is going on; be it the Network Rail partnership
in HMP Cardiff, providing much needed training that benefit society and the individual; or the soft
skill development services provided in HMP Berwyn; or recent innovations in HMP Styal teaming up
with Virgin Rail; YOI Parc provided excellent practical skills in carpentry; there was a new suite of call
centre training equipment in HMP Swansea; many prisoners at HMP Prescoed are subject to Release
on Temporary Licence to gain work experience with local employers; at HMP Usk specialist offence
related training sits alongside opportunities for long term education including Open University.
HMPPS and Welsh Government have recently agreed a new Learning and Skills Strategy for Wales’
prisons which sets out the vision for further development of learning, skills and employment on
release from prison. This will be published in early 2019.
However, it is clear from the investigation that greater clarity and focus can be brought to the Welsh
prison estate.
I hope that my recommendations will dovetail with the work being undertaken by the Welsh Government
and HMPPS to ensure that education provision reaches high standards in the hope of reducing
reoffending rates and making ex-offenders productive members of society.

                                                                                                             7
2. Methodology
To undertake this review, I have visited HMP Berwyn, HMP Swansea, HMP Parc, HMP Cardiff and
HMP Styal, speaking to the prisoners, prison officers, governors and education providers within each
institution. I visited HMP Styal as there are no prisons for women in Wales and it receives a large
number of female offenders from North Wales.
In addition to visits to prisons I held two roundtable events – one in North Wales and another in
South Wales – with key stakeholders.
Attendees at the North Wales roundtable:

    Organisation
    Meee Programme
    Open Awards
    National Probation Service
    428 Training
    MoJ New Futures Network
    St Giles Trust
    Remploy
    Head of Learning and Skills at HMP Berwyn

Attendees at the South Wales roundtable:

    Organisation
    Learning and Work Institute
    Prisoner’s Education Trust
    Freelance Consultant
    Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists
    The London Institute of Banking and Finance
    Careers Wales
    Department of Work and Pensions
    Community Rehabilitation Company
    The Wallich (BOSS Project)
    The Prince’s Trust
    N-ergy
    Open University Wales
    People Plus Cymru
    St Giles Trust
    Remploy

I also held meetings with members of the Senior Management teams at HMPPS and the
Welsh Government and discussions with Rt. Hon. Alun Michael, Police and Crime Commissioner
for South Wales Police and received correspondence from a variety of individuals.

8
3. Accountability Structures
Introduction
For policy to work efficiently it needs to be underpinned by sound frameworks and a clear
accountability structure. Without these two foundations policy can become vague, confused and
fundamentally flawed. It is the responsibility of public servants to implement the best possible policies
for their citizens and for citizens to know how they can influence and inform its evolution over time.
In my opening remarks it is noted how the Welsh Government came to hold responsibility and
powers over prison education. We are nearing the tenth anniversary of these powers being devolved
and it is important that we take stock of the situation. Questions within this chapter that I hope to
address include:
• How has implementation of policy changed over time and has it improved outcomes?
• How are Welsh Ministers involved in decision making?
• What scrutiny is undertaken by the Civil Service?
• What interactions take place between the Welsh Government and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ)?

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), between the UK Government and the Welsh Government
when powers were first conferred upon them, will be examined as it is clear that there are areas where
joint working can be improved and the relationship between both parties would benefit from greater
collaboration.
This chapter hopes to address some of the areas I believe can be improved so that prison education
policy in Wales can strengthen further.

Relationship between Welsh Government and HMPPS: Policy provision
When the Welsh Government first gained responsibility for prison education in 2009, it was noted in
the explanatory memorandum from the UK Government that they were expected to “take a strategic
planning and management role… [and] develop its Welsh-specific policy for prisoner education
in Wales”3.
During meetings with officials it became apparent that HMPPS has a stronger role in formulating and
delivering policy within Welsh prisons. This is not necessarily something which should draw concern.
In many lines of government activity it will be expected that other public sector bodies will support
policy makers in their duties. This can be seen both in the running of services in Wales and the UK
more widely. It is a useful practice within the governance of policy as it ensures that we can draw
upon expert opinion and develop solutions to flaws which may not have been identified if sole control
of policy was held with the Welsh Government.
HMPPS Wales is the provider of education at HMP’s Cardiff, Swansea, Usk and Prescoed and the
prisons directly employ education staff. In HMP Berwyn the provider is Novus Cambria who deliver
education under contract to HMPPS Wales. G4S operate HMP Parc under contract to HMPPS
Wales and are also responsible for the provision of education. HMPPS are therefore well placed
to provide the Welsh Government with advice on how to formulate education provision in the most
effective manner.
However, the public expect their democratically accountable representatives to be able to direct policy
on their behalf. When in discussions with senior representatives of both the Welsh Government and
HMPPS, it became clear that both formulation of policy and scrutiny of proposals submitted could
be improved.
3
    Explanatory Memorandum to the Welsh Ministers (Transfer of Functions) Order 2009, 2009 No. 703, p. 4

                                                                                                           9
Currently, HMPPS and the Welsh Government agree a MoU and it underpins the actions undertaken
by all parties involved. Moreover, the Welsh Government produces a wide-ranging strategy for all
aspects of education which compliments the MoU. But this brings with it risks as well as rewards.
HMPPS are free to develop education tools without reference to the Welsh Government – allowing for
expert-led policy creation – but the Welsh Government should enhance its current resources in this
area which may provide opportunities for greater scrutiny or challenge.
Indeed, when speaking to HMPPS representatives they were eager to be challenged more on their
proposals. They believe that greater scrutiny will drive them to providing a better service for offenders
and the public at large.
For all intents and purposes, the MoU is the point at which the Welsh Government is most involved in
formulating policy. Once it is completed, HMPPS becomes the real driver of policy.
The Welsh Government should take a more proactive role in policy creation and ensure that the
Civil Service have the resources they need to scrutinise HMPPS. The MoU is important, but too much
emphasis is placed upon it. It acts as a safety net for all parties involved as they know that standards
will not drop below the MoU. This means that no parties involved are pushed to strive for better
performing policies.
Continual involvement from the Welsh Government will drive innovation from HMPPS and address any
potential shortcomings before they become a reality.
HMPPS is also relied upon for performance markers by the Welsh Government. This makes sense
as HMPPS have the greatest access to metrics to inform any reports. However, it may be seen by
some that HMPPS are ‘marking their own homework’. However, there is a lack of resources within the
civil service to ensure that they can cross-examine in any great detail the information handed to them
from HMPPS. There is an opportunity for both parties to examine existing performance indicators to
determine whether they are still fit for purpose and also the degree to which Welsh Government is
able to scrutinise them.

Ministerial interaction
Ministerial focus on prison education will always be needed. Our prisons are facing unprecedented
challenges and the Welsh Government can lead through example with the formulation of
independently minded policies that reflect the needs of Wales. Because of the limitations noted
previously Ministers cannot direct policy with ease and therefore are unable to effectively influence
the provision of education in Welsh prisons.
I will cover in later chapters how Ministers can improve their position on this aspect, but it needed to
be noted in this chapter as the difficulties are grounded in the current structures.

Relationship between Welsh Government and UK MoJ
Strong working relationships between the two governments are imperative. No more so is this true when
it comes to justice. This is one of the many areas where HMPPS acts as a vital link. Because it is a
UK Government body it can operate as a mediator between UK MoJ and Welsh Government. This is
a vital role as it is noted within the concordat between the Welsh Government and the MoJ that:
       Good working relationships between the Welsh Government and the UK Government
       departments are vital to the effective delivery of public services and to ensure that the
       business of government continues to be conducted smoothly and efficiently. The Welsh
       Government and the Ministry of Justice will co-operate to the fullest possible extent to achieve
       this aim, in particular by recognising and taking into account their respective responsibilities
       and interest, working on the basis of transparency, trust and consensus. They may decide to act
       jointly on particular matters, for example, by issuing joint advice or guidance to local agencies4.
4
    Concordat between the Welsh Government and the UK Ministry of Justice, 25 June 2018, p. 2
10
I would recommend that the Welsh Government and UK MoJ build upon their current successes.
This is particularly of importance as the MoJ in England will be providing education services for
offenders who are from Wales. This is most true when it comes to female offenders as there are no
female prisons in Wales. There needs to be regular meetings between Welsh and UK civil servants
along with Ministers to ensure that all involved are working in the best interests of the public.
This could be through quarterly meetings, for example.

Accountability
During my roundtable discussions with stakeholders they stated – at both North and South Wales
events independently – that it was unclear who was responsible for decision making. It was evident
that many stakeholders did not have a working knowledge of the relationship between HMPPS
and the Welsh Government and therefore did not have a clear understanding of joint objectives
in this area. It must be stated that there are many ways in which stakeholders can access the
Welsh Government, but concerns were expressed around a perceived inability to make representation
to Ministers or to HMPPS.
There must be a review of accountability structures for external stakeholders. They must be able to
have access to a point of contact in both the Welsh Government and HMPPS. A liaison officer would
encourage critical analysis of policy and introduce a new source of ideas to drive up standards.

Recommendations
1. T
    he Welsh Government should take a more proactive role on policy formulation and not rely
   solely upon the MoU as the foundation for policy creation. They should develop a statement
   of purpose for the objectives they wish to achieve with regards to education and employment
   in prison within six months. The Statement of Purpose should enable regular meetings across
   Civil Service departments and set out clear measurable outcomes.
2. T
    he Welsh Government should examine the Civil Service support requirements and the
   resources in order to strengthen the independent cross-examination of HMPPS performance.
   This is an urgent matter and the examination should be undertaken within three months.

                                                                                                    11
4. Inclusivity with Stakeholders
Introduction
Ensuring that stakeholders are engaged with policy creation and implementation is vitally important.
Not only does it give government access to a plethora of ideas and talent, but it ensures an equality
of provision across the Welsh prison estate.
Currently, the Welsh Government has no protocols in place with the Third Sector to engage them in
activity as most of it is facilitated through the Learning and Skills Managers in each prison. This will
be done by trying to answer the following questions:
• How does the Welsh Government involve stakeholders in the policy making process?
• How are ideas shared throughout the Welsh prison estate?
• How are prison governors utilised by the Welsh Government?
• What steps will need to be taken to improve through the gate services after 2020?
• What is the ministerial relationship with stakeholders?

This chapter will provide recommendations to improve connectivity between prisons, people and
organisations. It draws heavily upon the roundtable discussions held in north Wales and south Wales.
But this section will also have one eye towards the 2020 reorganisation of probation services in Wales
under the control of HMPPS.

Building Awareness of Policy
An outcome from both roundtable discussions came from the very first question I asked all attendants.
I asked what knowledge stakeholders had of the Welsh Government’s overall strategy for prison
education and how involved did they feel in its formulation process. The majority of those who
contributed to this question noted that they had not had an opportunity to feed in at a strategic level5
or they were unaware of the wider strategies6. Therefore, there needs to be a clearer strategy around
how stakeholders and practitioners can be more closely involved in the development and design of
policies and interventions.
It should be noted that I came across a similar problem when visiting prisons. There were many
occasions where people teaching offenders in classes would be wearing clothing proudly stating that
this course was funded by the Welsh Government. But when asked what they were expected to be
achieving with prisoner education they did not know. Those on the frontline of prison education should
have as great an understanding of what the Welsh Government wants to achieve as those setting
contracts and policy.
The root cause of this situation can be traced back to the issues identified in the first chapter.
By allowing HMPPS to have freedom over applied policies, even if it is in line with the MoU, it has
prevented other bodies providing input into the development of the education system in Welsh
prisons. To counter balance this and to have better informed policy development, there should be
a greater role for, and involvement of, external stakeholders.
During my roundtable event in Cardiff I was informed that stakeholders would appreciate a
‘Rehabilitation Forum’, similar to that utilised by the MoJ7. They were also unclear if their feedback to
the MoJ was fed back to the Welsh Government and HMPPS. The Welsh Government and HMPPS
should establish a ‘Rehabilitation Forum’ to improve outreach.

5
  Anonymous. (2018), Cardiff Principality Stadium Roundtable Consultation: David Hanson Review, 27 September 2018
6
  Anonymous. (2018), HMP Berwyn Roundtable Consultation: David Hanson Review, 26 September 2018
7
  Anonymous. (2018), Cardiff Principality Stadium Roundtable Consultation: David Hanson Review, 27 September 2018

12
The Welsh Government and HMPPS should work together to produce a clear outreach programme
for Third Sector organisations and key stakeholders. There should be a point of contact in both the
Welsh Government and HMPPS that is widely publicised. It will ensure that there is a link between
both decision-making partners for prison education and those implementing contracts in prisons.
This will drive up standards and allow for greater information sharing across the prison estate.
The MoU needs to be publicised more widely alongside the education strategy. By making these
documents more accessible the Welsh Government may be able to overcome any feelings of isolation
stakeholders have. This is needed so that Wales can drive up standards and develop policies that are
more specific to the challenges and opportunities Welsh prisons exist within. This is a simple reform,
but one that will drive up standards and engagement.

Identifying Stakeholders
To drive up inclusivity you must have awareness of your stakeholders. As most interaction happens
between Learning and Skills Managers in each individual prison, and not at a national level, there is
a perceived lack of knowledge by the Welsh Government of who they could work with.
During my roundtable discussions I heard of many fantastic and ingenious solutions for prison
education. It was repeated during my prison visits. But what I found concerning was some
programmes were being replicated in isolation, meaning that the difficulties faced in the roll-out
of programmes were being repeated when they could have been avoided. This could have been
overcome with greater information sharing. Identifying stakeholders is inextricably linked with this
issue as without a central database of who is operational in Welsh prisons we cannot support them
in enlarging successful programmes and ending those that do not achieve acceptable outcomes.
The Welsh prison estate has the benefit of being small compared with other parts of the United
Kingdom. The Welsh Government should utilise this strength more regularly through greater
information sharing.

Utilising Governors
Prison governors are experts in their field. They know how to address reoffending and how to improve
the educational outcomes for their prison population. Once again, Wales has a small estate of only
six prisons. It would be wrong if this expertise was to be ignored by the Welsh Government and
its Ministers.
When I visited prisons across Wales it became all too clear that governors wanted to be more
involved in steering policy along practical lines and would therefore benefit from greater access to
Welsh Government decision makers.
The Welsh Government and HMPPS should have regular meetings with some of the most influential
people within our prisons estate. Not only should this happen on a one-to-one basis but as a group –
bringing together all governors at once.
One-to-one meetings will have the benefits of supporting the Welsh Government in its duty of care
in each prison. They will hear first-hand what is working and what needs supporting on the front-line.
It will always be the case that each prison has its own set of factors influencing its education provision
and that is why these meetings are important. I would also recommend that the Minister is involved on
an ad-hoc basis so that they can understand how their policies are impacting the prison estate.
These one-to-one meetings should be complimented with conferences of every governor in Wales.
The Welsh Government may wish to consider involving the governors of HMP Styal and HMP
Eastwood Park as Welsh female offenders are predominantly sentenced to these locations. The most
practical arrangement would be one based on a quarterly structure. It would be an opportunity for
governors to share their achievements with the Minister, officials and their colleagues. It would aid the
Minister in identifying issues of concern, thus driving up standards.

                                                                                                        13
The added benefit of governor involvement is the opportunity to share best practice and potentially
share resource across the prison estate in Wales.

Chain of Command
Allowing stakeholders to have access to the decision maker is important. It enables them to raise
concerns and can act as a vital early warning system to any problems that may arise if no action is
taken. It also relates to the point previously made that it can drive up innovation as new charities can
find a pathway directly to those who have the power to implement reform.
During my roundtable discussions it was noted by stakeholders that they were unclear of who
is responsible for policy, the dynamics of the current relationship between HMPPS and the
Welsh Government, and the overall prison education strategy. Without clear organisation charts
stakeholders find themselves unable to identify who to engage with and are often unaware of who is
the best person to approach.
The oral evidence provided stated how stakeholders found the system “quite disjointed”8 and were
concerned that communication between different bodies was overly challenging9. This obviously
doesn’t produce a sound working environment and can act as a deterrent for new stakeholders to
get involved with prison education programmes.
One potential solution to this situation would be to produce a clear and concise organisational
map. It should be made available to all so that everyone knows where responsibility lies. This will
be complimented well by the previous recommendation of a designated point of contact in the
Welsh Government and HMPPS on prison education.

Future Opportunities
On the 27 July 2018 the UK Government announced that “supervision of all offenders in Wales will be
brought together into the National Probation Service (NPS), to better reflect the needs of communities
in Wales”10. This means that HMPPS will be responsible for frontline offender management services
and there will be new arrangements for the delivery of intervention services including the delivery of
resettlement services. This reform will see a great deal of opportunity and also some challenge to the
Welsh Government’s approach to prison education.
The current system of Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) responsibility for through the
gate services is widely known and understood. By bringing the provision of through the gate under
the control of one body the Welsh Government will need to consider how they will have to evolve
alongside this reform.
The Welsh Government should work closely with HMPPS to undertake a scoping exercise on how best
these two bodies can cooperate to drive up standards. Both the Welsh Government and HMPPS will
need to put in place a taskforce to find areas of shared common interest. This will stretch far beyond
education and will impact upon housing and health to name but two.
I will discuss in later chapters what practical policies could be implemented to improve through
the gate.

8
  Anonymous. (2018), Cardiff Principality Stadium Roundtable Consultation: David Hanson Review, 27 September 2018
9
  Ibid
10
   Wales Office, New plans for probation in Wales announced by UK Government’, 27 July 2018, accessed at:
   https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-plans-for-probation-in-wales-announced-by-uk-government

14
Recommendations
3. T
    he Welsh Government and HMPPS should establish a stakeholder engagement programme
   (Rehabilitation Forum) through which they will:
 • Outline the roles and responsibilities of Welsh Government and HMPPS
 • Publicise existing and developing strategy
 • Create and maintain a database of stakeholders
 • Share best practice through regular face-to-face meetings

4. T
    he Welsh Government and HMPPS should hold regular meetings with prison governors on
   both an individual and collective basis, involving the Minister where necessary.
5. T
    he Welsh Government and HMPPS should undertake a scoping exercise in preparation
   of the new probation service being installed in 2020 to establish the relationships between
   the Welsh Government and the new arrangements given the Welsh Government’s major
   responsibilities on community rehabilitation. This review to be published six months prior to the
   establishment of the new arrangements.

                                                                                                   15
5. S
    ocial Clauses –
   Welsh Government’s Employment Power
Introduction
The Welsh Government is not fully utilising its budgets and sphere of influence when it comes to
encouraging the employment of ex-offenders. To progress the aims set out in their strategy they must
address this issue.
The aim of providing excellent education in prisons is primarily to drive down reoffending rates.
Ensuring that ex-offenders have the skills needed for the modern workplace enables them to
become active members of society who feel valued for their efforts. There should be no doubt that
education for educations sake is also greatly valued. It helps offenders to discover a passion for
self-improvement and provides them with a renewed sense of self-worth.
Education must therefore be tailored to deliver these outcomes. Its foundations should be based
upon Labour Market Information (LMI) so that prisons can provide the skills employers require.
Indeed, the MoU between the Welsh Government and HMPPS is readily aware of this need11.
This chapter will be investigating how we can improve employability outcomes for ex-offenders
through enhanced education provision and greater engagement with the wider public sector functions
funded directly by the Welsh Government. It should be remembered that the Welsh Government has
a spending power of £16 billion per annum. It also has powers over two of the largest employers in
Wales: NHS Wales and local authorities.
Questions we will attempt to address include:
• How can the Welsh Government use its spending and legislative power to increase
  employability prospects?
• How does the Welsh Government use social contracts with respect to ex-offenders?
• What is the working relationship between the public and private sector in prisons?
• How can we support ex-offenders to gain employment experience after prison?
• What barriers can the Welsh Government remove from offenders gaining employment and skills?

The Welsh Government’s Prosperity for All: Employability Plan makes the commitment to offer the
skills people need for employment12. HMPPS share these aims of improving an individual’s chance
of finding meaningful employment on release plays a pivotal role in successful rehabilitation and
ensuring that prisoners are provided with opportunities to gain qualifications through learning and
skills provision that maximises their chances of gaining and sustaining secure and meaningful
employment on release.
There is a clear desire to improve outcomes and I hope that my recommendations will compliment
this dedicated approach by the Welsh Government and HMPPS.

Welsh Government: Social Clauses
The Welsh Government has enormous potential for using its influence over employers throughout
Wales in taking progressive steps on ex-offender employment. While the Welsh Government should
not implement policies that overly prioritise ex-offenders over all others seeking employment,
those who have shown commitment to seeking employment, through the training and education
received in prison, should not be stigmatised because of their history.
11
   Welsh Government, Memorandum of Understanding The Welsh Ministers and HM Prisons and Probation Service (HMPPS),
   1 April 2018, p. 9
12
    Welsh Government, Prosperity for All: Employability Plan, 19 March 2018, p. 14

16
Decision makers, at all levels, have realised that they can use contracts to drive societal reform. This is
achieved through social clauses that direct those who successfully secured a contract. With a budget
of circa £16 billion the Welsh Government has the largest impact on social clauses and it should
use this power to encourage private enterprise to drive up employment standards for all in society,
through its direct policy, its suppliers and spheres of influence – especially Local Government.
The Welsh Government has been one of the early adopters of social clauses and this should be
praised. It is a key tool of government to ensure that they can spend efficiently on public services,
but to demand societal change by the private sector who is undertaking the contractual obligations.
During discussions with senior Civil Servants at HMPPS and the Welsh Government it became
clear that there was a desire to use social clauses more effectively. However, in the very same
discussions it became quickly apparent that there were not the resources available to undertake
the cross-examination of these clauses once the contract has been established.
This opens the risk of failings as private enterprise may scrupulously secure contracts only for the
social clause to be ignored. To combat this, the Welsh Government should review its processes
in place for monitoring social clauses so that when they are broken those responsible are held
to account.
The Welsh Government should also work with all other public-sector bodies within Wales so that there
is a standardised framework of social clauses. The advantage of this approach means that Wales will
have all bodies working in the public interest to deliver services with a modern ethical outcome.

Private-Sector and Public-Sector Responsibilities
When discussing public/private cooperation we are quick to identify how the private sector can be
doing more to help society. There are some good examples of these relationships in place in prisons
across the Welsh estate, such as HMP Parc who has secured a training partnership with a local
upholstery company. Equally, I witnessed examples of public-sector employers working holistically with
prisons, the prime example being HMP Cardiff and their work with Network Rail to deliver Personal
Track Safety and Direct Current Conductor rail cards and small tools tickets13. Indeed, the Police and
Crime Commissioner for South Wales Police, Rt. Hon. Alun Michael, informed me that he had seen
the advantages of direct training to address skills shortages in sectors like railway engineering.
However, there is a tendency for all within public life to expect the private sector to lead instead of the
public-sector joining them in this journey of social responsibility. When asked about the number of
private sector employers working in our prisons those responsible could easily identify who they were
and what levels of impact they had. But when I raised the question on public sector employers there
seemed to be a dearth of knowledge.
This is an area that needs addressing. I was told during the roundtable discussions that public-sector
employers were more risk averse and would shy away from any involvement with ex-offenders14.
At a separate roundtable event, stakeholders told me that the public-sector tended to hide behind the
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks as a reason why employment opportunities couldn’t
exist15. It is understandable that this is the case, but the Welsh Government should make clear to
those bodies what the actual risk is of working with offenders in prison or ex-offenders once released.
There will obviously be some employment opportunities which will be closed off from ex-offenders due
to their record, but that should not stop the education services within prisons linking up with those
which they can do. When visiting prisons there are many instances of decent training schemes for
horticulture and street works and these are perfect candidates for supporting local authorities in their
duties. The Welsh Government should utilise these skills to support local service delivery. Indeed, if a
13
   Education, Vocational Skills & Employment Department HMP Cardiff, Learner Journeys: Every Story Matters, p.6
14
   Anonymous. (2018), HMP Berwyn Roundtable Consultation: David Hanson Review, 26 September 2018
15
   Anonymous. (2018), Cardiff Principality Stadium Roundtable Consultation: David Hanson Review, 27 September 2018

                                                                                                                     17
strong link is secured, upon release ex-offenders may be able to offer their skills to local government
or NHS Wales for the betterment of society.
Occasionally, offenders will be unable to complete their course in prison due to release. Often this
means that their education and training pathway is cut short. The Welsh Government should
encourage local authorities to support ex-offenders in completing their course through on-the-job
learning. This works particularly well for practical courses. Local government will benefit from a labour
stream they would not necessarily have access to and ex-offenders will be able to build up their
curriculum vitae following release.
There are many employment opportunities that do not require high level security clearance which
Local Authorities could provide. They could work a lot more cooperatively with prisons to secure
employment for ex-offenders in areas such as horticulture, construction and highways maintenance
for example.
There is a strong case for the Welsh Government to convene an initial conference; bringing together
major employers who supply or work with the Welsh Government. This would examine current skills
shortages, opportunities to employ hard-to-employ individuals, and explore employment links with the
prison estate.

Removing Barriers to Employment
One of the biggest barriers to employment following a prison sentence is not the quality of education
provided, but the very fact that someone is an ex-offender. This links into this review as HMPPS and
the Welsh Government will continue to be undermined in their efforts to reduce reoffending if action
isn’t taken to improve the chances of employment once released.
Many areas of reform lay outside the powers of both the Welsh Government and HMPPS. But again,
there are areas where the Welsh Government could lead by example and encourage other
public-sector bodies to follow.
The most notable of these is by supporting the ‘Ban the Box’ campaign. Currently, when someone
applies for employment they must complete a section on their application that notifies the would-be
employer as to their criminal record. It is clear that placing this requirement at such an early stage of
the application process is not appropriate. Those who may be well qualified have a reformed character
and willing to work will be unnecessarily discarded because of potential prejudice.
There are over 9 million people in the UK with a criminal record and by banning the box it will mean
that the Welsh Government and other public-sector bodies will lead the way when it comes to fairness
in our employability programmes.
This is not to say that at no point should ex-offenders be asked for their background history. Instead,
they should be asked at a more appropriate point – such as after an interview. This will allow for the
ex-offender to build up self-confidence and feel part of society once more.
The Welsh Government should undertake a review of its employment policy so that it can ban the box
at application stage and encourage other public-sector employers to follow suit.

Prison Structures
Within Wales there are three different structures used for running a prison: public-sector, private-sector
and commissioning.
Each of these methods of delivering services to prisoners have their benefits and costs. These three
models are important to note at this point as their performance relates to contractual arrangements.

18
There were situations where a prison would like to change its education direction to meet the
requirements of local LMI data, but because of the system they operate within they would be unable
to do so at speed. This could cause delays and undermine the ability of said prison to react to the
changes workplace demands in their local community.
When I visited various prisons, it became clear that those which were public sector were calling for
greater flexibility in how they commission education services. The Welsh Government should work with
HMPPS to investigate how to overcome this need for greater flexibility in these institutions to secure
the benefits of a commissioning based principle with the stability of the public-sector model.

Recommendations
6. T
    he Welsh Government should work with all other public-sector bodies within Wales to agree
   an approach to employing ex-offenders (including the “ban the box” approach) and develop a
   more robust framework for social clauses that includes close monitoring and penalties for
   non-compliance.
7. T
    he Welsh Government should convene a conference on employability with its contacts by
   July 2019.
8. T
    he Welsh Government should support HMPPS in building links with local authorities so that
   ex-offenders can continue on-the-job training, in appropriate sectors, once their sentence has
   been served. This could include an outreach officer for prisons or a presence within the prison.

                                                                                                      19
6. Through the Gate Services
Introduction
It is widely identified that ‘Through the Gate’ (TTG) services need to be effectively managed to ensure
that reoffending rates are reduced. Many of the powers needed to improve these services fall outside
of the Welsh Government’s constitutional remit.
It was noted in a recent report by the House of Commons Justice Select Committee, into the UK
Government’s ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’ programme, that a “…Through the Gate service which
merely signposts offenders to other organisations is wholly inadequate”16. Flaws were identified in the
current system ranging from access to Universal Credit, resettlement plans and the use of telephones
to contact ex-offenders. These are all outside the scope of this review, but are important to note at this
juncture as it helps to explain why there are currently inadequacies in the system.
Another area where the Welsh Government has no operational responsibility is Release on Temporary
Licence (ROTL). During my meetings with stakeholders, ROTL was an issue that came up repeatedly
as a barrier to successful education and rehabilitation. It is, however, key to reintegration and
employment for some prisoners.
Despite these limitations, the Welsh Government does have powers it can utilise to support
ex-offenders secure employment and continue education following release. This will become all the
more important with the future changes in probation including the frontline offender management
services all being delivered by the National Probation Service and new intervention provision in 2020.
Representations received from Rt. Hon. Alun Michael, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales
Police, demonstrated the impact of supporting those with mental health issues and drug addiction.
He noted many interesting policy solutions to driving up standards in this area and if we are to get TTG
services right they need to be taken into account.
This chapter will address the following questions:
• How can LMI can be better utilised?
• What can the Welsh Government do to support the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)?
• What can Careers Wales do to improve TTG services?
• What more can Local Authorities do to support offenders?
• How can Higher Education (HE) and Further Education (FE) institutions support lifelong learning?
• How can offenders be better signposted to education and employment services following release?
• How can the Welsh Government work with employers to increase opportunities for employment
  of offenders?

The Importance of LMI
LMI is fundamental in securing long-term integration of ex-offenders within society. It can provide
prisons with the data they need to identify employment opportunities in the release catchment area
so that appropriate training is given. It should be noted that this is an area that the Welsh Government
and HMPPS are working well together. They have been producing a strategy based upon LMI which
will help prisons in their task of reducing reoffending.

16
     House of Commons Justice Select Committee, (2018). ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’, (HOC482), p. 54

20
Figures show that 80% of prisoners in south Wales prisons are released within the south Wales
catchment area. For governors to provide the right education, learning and skills programmes,
they need this data to be accurate and that is why the Welsh Government and HMPPS should
continually monitor LMI so that it is fit for purpose. This means that it must be up-to-date,
localised to the smallest level available and accessible/in a usable format for practitioners.
But it should not be overlooked that some offenders are in prisons in areas that they will not be
released to. It is vitally important that LMI data is shared widely with all prisons in Wales and not just
given the information that applies to the areas they are located in. Moreover, the Welsh Government
and HMPPS need to share LMI data with the MoJ so that Welsh prisoners located in English prisons
are not left behind. This is of importance for female offenders – this review will go into greater detail
on female offenders in a later chapter.
The Welsh Government and HMPPS should undertake an investigation into the benefits of producing
an Offender Training Report (OTR) for employers. I would envision an OTR containing details on
offenders due for release alongside a dataset on what skills they have achieved in prison. This data
could be made available for employers so they are made aware of forthcoming labour opportunities
as offenders are released. Dovetailing this dataset with the strong working relationships built by the
Welsh Government with stakeholders would improve outcomes for offenders seeking employment
after release. In addition, the improvement in employment opportunities would act as an incentive for
offenders to participate more in education programmes in prison.

2020 Vision
As noted in previous chapters, the new arrangements being introduced by HMPPS in relation to
probation services, brings with it a great deal of opportunities. The part-privatisation of the probation
service has been found to be a failure in its current state. The National Audit Office report into
CRCs17 detailed the failures of the contracts in place and the cost to the public purse. The House of
Commons Public Accounts Committee noted the failures to encourage third sector providers to get
involved in the provision of rehabilitation18. Many more reports can be cited.
One worrying consequence of CRCs was the undermining of the link between the third sector,
government and TTG services. During my roundtable discussions this issue was noted.
Stakeholders were frustrated by the current system as the referral process has become convoluted19.
The Welsh Government should work with HMPPS to ensure that the new system in place works
towards greater inclusivity of stakeholders and providers of TTG services in Wales. The partnership
between the Welsh Government and HMPPS has the benefit of being a long-running one and this
should be harnessed.

Access to services in prison
Securing full attendance to education courses within prison is a challenge for various reasons.
But some of these obstacles could be removed or mitigated. Offenders approaching release will be
facing a period of change, sometimes after years of stability in the prison system. The support needs
to be there so that they can transition smoothly back into society. This will mean trying to smooth
out the complications that can be found once outside the prison gates. These may not seem directly
linked to prison education, but without a holistic approach to offender welfare you cannot secure
decent outcomes for education and employment.

17
   National Audit Office (2017), Investigation into changes to Community Rehabilitation Company contracts, HOC 676,
   December 2017.
18
    Public Accounts Committee (2018), Government Contracts for Community Rehabilitation Companies, HOC 897,
   March 2018, p.10
19
     Anonymous. (2018), HMP Berwyn Roundtable Consultation: David Hanson Review, 26 September 2018

                                                                                                                       21
You can also read